The Mopey-Dopey Agility Dog
When you have had a dog long enough you learn that sometimes they just aren’t up to doing much, even when we think it would be fun. Some signs that your dog may be giving you to signal disinterested are sniffing the ground, lying down, turning or looking the other way, or yawning. Some dogs may go ahead and do what you ask but with a lack of normal enthusiasm or excitement.
There are several reasons that could lead to your dog being mopey-dopey. It could be that your normally perky pup is feeling ill or had a previous bad experience with what you are asking for or lacks confidence in performing your request. In some cases it may be that your dog is actually bored and needs an increase in expectations.
If you feel your dog is lacking luster throughout the day, you will want to have your vet check your dog out. If it seems to hit when you go to work on your agility you may need to take a step back in your training. Avoidance to an obstacle may mean a lack of confidence. Try breaking it down and rebuilding your dog’s enthusiasm with the obstacle with shorter sessions, tastier treats, or more exciting toys.
You will need to find what makes your dog giddy with excitement and use that in your training. Maybe you need a higher value treat or a new toy or maybe YOU need to get more excited. Dogs will reflect the handlers attitude so the more excited you get, your dog will build excitement as well. Whatever it is, make sure you only use it in your training to keep it extra special.
If it’s a toy, you will want to build value into it by only playing with it for short periods of time and put it away while your dog is still excited about playing with it. Do not let your dog play with it without you so they associate those great feelings with you. Then you can start using it as a reward for your training or any time you need to build excitement in your dog.
Another aspect to consider is the duration of your lessons. Your dog may be showing disinterest due to over schooling. Just like building excitement into your dog’s toy, you will want to keep lessons short and end them with your dog still excited to be there. If you hit a road block, go back to an exercise your dog loves and end for the day or session.